Lake Victoria ferry crash: More than 200 feared dead after boat capsizes in Tanzania

Vessel reportedly had capacity of 100 passengers

Harry Cockburn
Thursday 20 September 2018 21:31
Ferries arrive in Mwanza, the city close to where the MV Nyerere capsized
Ferries arrive in Mwanza, the city close to where the MV Nyerere capsized

More than 200 people are feared to have drowned in Tanzania after a ferry capsized on Lake Victoria.

The MV Nyerere ferry sank on Thursday afternoon near Ukara Island, local officials said.

The ferry, which is reported to have a capacity of 100 passengers, was travelling between Bugorara and the Ukala islands, close to Mwanza, Tanzania’s second largest city.

The vessel is understood to have capsized when it was close to docking.

The Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency (TEMESA) confirmed the incident in a statement and said rescue efforts were underway.

However they were unable to confirm passenger numbers.

Tanzanian newspaper The Citizen reported that 20 people were rescued by fishermen immediately after the accident.

"We pray to God to give us hope in such an accident," Regional Commissioner Adam Malima said, the BBC reports.

"We pray to God to give us hope that there has not been a high death toll."

Ukerewe District Commissioner Colonel Lucas Magembe told Reuters reporters 42 people had already been confirmed dead and that the rescue mission had been halted until dawn on Friday.

The cause of the incident is not yet clear, but accidents are not uncommon on Lake Victoria with overloading and overcrowding frequently found to be the cause.

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